Twenty-seven year old Queenslander, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Michael Douglas, has a variety of roles and responsibilities when at sea onboard, HMAS Arunta.
Arunta has recently participated in AUSINDEX15, in India, and was one of three Royal Australian Navy vessels involved in the activity. HMAS Sirius, a replenishment ship, and submarine HMAS Sheean, were the other two.
AUSINDEX15 was the inaugural bilateral maritime exercise between the Australian and Indian Navies, and the joint exercise will continue to be held every two years from now.
The exercise was just the beginning of the four month North East Asian deployment for Arunta and her crew, in which Able Seaman Douglas plays a vital role.
In his role as Boatswains Mate, Able Seaman Douglas is involved with seamanship evolutions, replenishment and refuelling at sea, towing, surface and anti-aircraft firings, fire fighting, boat driving, security and Bridge watch-keeping.
“I enlisted in the Navy just over four years ago,” he said.
“I joined the Navy to further my career in the maritime industry, and for a challenge - to push myself out of my comfort zone,” Able Seaman Douglas said.
“I grew up in the country, in a place called Roma and when I was 12, the family moved to the coastal town of Noosa.
“My family are still there, while I get to do what I love with the Royal Australian Navy, and travel to lots of interesting places,” he said.
Able Seaman Douglas specialises in all aspects of seamanship, gunnery, and jet boat handling. His training was conducted at HMAS Cerberus, Crib Point, Victoria.
He is qualified in explosives and demolitions, as a helmsman, to conduct boardings, drive ships' boats and in the use of all small arms - from the 9mm pistol up to the 12.7mm 50 calibre machine gun.
“The best thing about my job is driving the jet boats, shooting weapons, travelling overseas and exploring new places with crew mates,” said Able Seaman Douglas.
“This North East Asian deployment will enable me to do all those things but I have already been so lucky to experience a few trips in my time.
“My first deployment with Navy was to New Zealand in HMAS Newcastle in 2012, with my next deployment being in the same year with HMAS Warramunga.
“While on Warramunga I attended numerous exercises around Australia, pulling into most major cities, and the ship also assisted in a public relations visit to East Timor,” he said.
In 2013, Able Seaman Douglas sailed for an operational deployment to Christmas Island where he spent seven months of that year assisting in border protection operations, pulling into Singapore twice for crew respite.
After this deployment, the ex-Noosa board rider is keen to pack his board and head off to Margaret River for a week of sun and surf with mates.